Marcus Rashford injury masks his poor performance
Marcus Rashford’s injury at the weekend was inevitable given the lack of available strikers at United right now.
But a break on the sidelines may do him good, even if it means United’s options are seriously stretched.
The way Rashford has been playing for United, he has been doing himself no favours.
Rashford has only one goal from open play this season, coming back in early August against Chelsea.
His performance against West Ham before his injury displayed a striker bereft of confidence and lacking in quality.
It’s not been working
In 60 minutes he had no shots at goal, and managed only 24 touches. Some of that comes down to the lethargic midfield behind him, granted, but Rashford was not a help.
Against Astana on Thursday, Rashford disappointed. He could have bagged a first half hat-trick and ended up without a goal.
Without Anthony Martial up front with him, he has shown himself unable to effectively lead the line, at least not at the moment.
This could allow Mason Greenwood chances to lead the line up front, rather than being shunted out on the right.
Rashford cares about United, and he has achieved a lot in the game already at just 21-year-old. He shouldn’t simply be discarded.
But this short break with a groin injury could do him good, to reset.
His struggles appear to be mental as much as anything else, as he battle to deal with the pressure and criticism which comes with leading the line for United. He is snatching at the chances which come his way, and his composure is gone.
Rashford can come back stronger, but right now a bit of time out might now be the worst thing in the world for him in the long run.
In the meantime…
Even though Rashford may benefit from a break, its tough on United.
There is now serious pressure on Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, who both should be fit to play against Arsenal next week.
The problem is the Rochdale game in between. One of them may have to play, and if they get injured ahead of the Gunners game, it will be seen as a disaster.
Getting Martial some game time may be beneficial, and 45 minutes each could be a sensible approach if possible.
United just need to be lucky, or be cautious and stick Lingard up front against Rochdale and take the pragmatic decision to protect Martial and Greenwood.
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